Walter Simms


The purpose of this little book is to keep alive the memory of ships of Burgeo and the men who sailed them. I wish to make it clear to my readers that there is no ridicule intended in any of the short stories I have written. I appreciate them too highly for that, as all of the stories are of the people and from the people of Burgeo and are memories of a happy past. Men like Thomas Matthews, Frank Remo and John Dominey with the knowledge of that colourful history of Burgeo, which was and still is Queen of the South West Coast, will have gone from our midst one of these days and it would be a pity to have lost all their knowledge of that golden past. Although this is not my birthplace, I still claim it as my home by adoption. No other place is so dear to me, and I will love it till I die. It was in Burgeo, long ago, where my good wife and I started out on our very own to meet the challenge of every day life and to make a home and raise our family. I thank God for meeting the wonderful people of yesteryear and old Burgeo who helped us on that journey and gave us a new start in life.


Out on the rocky South West Coast,

Just East of Port-aux-Basques,

There is a lovely Island,

You can't miss it as you pass.

This Island is called Burgeo,

Famous for men and sail,

And the history of her long ago

Can tell you many a tale.


From Barachois Bight to Richard's Head

Sometimes the seas rage high,

But her rugged coast and inlets

I'll love them till I die.

A wee bit of God's beauty

Is touched within this Isle,

And as to-day and yesteryear

Good fortune on her smiles.


It's the home of Henry Clement,

The Matthews and the Caines,

The Moultons and the Vatchers,

The Bowdridge and the Paynes,

The Colliers and the Cossars,

I cannot name them all,

But there is one I can't forget,

His name is Joseph Small. 


He was Magistrate and Lawyer,

Preacher and Doctor too.

He was king of the whole harbour,

A man they all looked to.

He wrote the history of this Isle

Which we must keep alive,

From eighteen hundred and Sixty

To nineteen twenty-five.


The dry fish firm of Moulton's

Is history past and gone,

The fresh fish plant of Spencer Lake

I hope will carry on,

To give employment to our men,

Their families to provide,

And may the ancient little cod

Come shoreward with the tide.


In Charlie Matthews' tinshop,

In Johnnie Cobac's forge,

In Sam Hare's little Cobbler Shop

Stories were told galore

Of disaster and adventure,

Enough to rack your brain,

While crossing the Atlantic

To Portugal and Spain.


So now may God preserve her,

And keep her in his care,

And may no one disgrace her

Through all the coming years,

For still her rugged beauty

You can't see where'ere you go,

And may heaven above shine on her,

Our lovely B U R G E O.